About

Our Mission

Community Birth Works provides comprehensive home birth and well person care that is evidence-based and grounded in love. We affirm the right of all birthing people to receive compassionate, respectful, and empowering care, and for all babies to be born into safe and gentle hands.

Our Story

Under different names, we had been providing home birth care in the Bay Area since 2001. Then, in 2020 we asked ourselves, “If anything were possible, what would we do better?” We imagined an ideal practice model that centered around justice, empowerment, safety, layers of support, and sustainability. Community Birth Works was born.

We provide the highest quality care for each client regardless of ability to pay, and we leverage our privilege to support organizations addressing equity issues of marginalized people. Our non-hierarchical leadership model is values-driven, and framed around social justice and contribution to the communities we serve. We actively seek guidance from and strive to uplift the work of the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities. We understand that courage is not comfortable and that discomfort is necessary for growth and learning.

The dream is big, and these commitments are justice work in progress. We’re optimistic and eager to create a better world, one birth at a time.

Cynthia and Sophia will always have a special place in our family, and we are forever
grateful that they were our birth team.”

– Annie G

I was 100% at ease in the birth process, having full faith in Sophia and the team that they had everything on their end under control so I could just focus on what I needed to do.”

– Amber

Cynthia “Nini” Banks RN, MSN, CNM
(she/her)
Nurse-Midwife, Director, Founder

When Cynthia first learned of midwifery, she immediately knew that this would be her life’s work. The through-line of her vision still guides her today, over 1000 births and 25 years later. A Yale educated, masters prepared RN and CNM, Cynthia is certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board and licensed by the California Board of Registered Nursing. She specializes in supporting childbearing families in the community setting. Cynthia’s groundedness and reassuring presence, coupled with her clinical expertise, provide a safe container for the natural unfolding of birth. She considers it a deep honor to do this work, and her love and passion shine through in every interaction.

Cynthia and her family live on unceded ancestral lands of the Ohlone people (West Oakland). Her approach to care is consent-based, family-centered, and exalts individuals and families as experts of their own experience. As a white-idenitfied, cis-gendered person, Cynthia is committed to rooting out bias in and around her, and to working tirelessly towards justice. She plans to spend the rest of her career uplifting BIPOC birth workers and making exceptional quality midwifery care more accessible

MEET THE TEAM
Isele Phoenix Harper
(they/them)
Administration and Operations, Co-Founder

Former birthworker, professional musician, and decluttering coach, Isele Phoenix now heads Community Birth Works administration and operations. They bring to the practice home birth knowledge, an affinity for organization, and a diverse identity as a genderqueer disabled Army veteran and artist. Isele enjoys gardening, traditional Irish flute, and pushing the limits of bureaucratic and musical systems.

Sophia Harris, LM, CPM
(she/her/they/them)
Licensed Midwife

For Sophia, being a midwife is at the intersection of her natural ability to support people through their light and dark moments, her belief that people can be the stewards of their own health and bodies, and her love for analog ways and ancient practices. She studied midwifery alongside brilliant and intuitive midwives from diverse traditions, in both a high volume birth center on the US/MX border, and in homebirth settings in the Bay Area. She strives to co-create an environment of respect, safety, intimacy, individualized care, and true informed choice so that her clients and communities can achieve their utmost wellbeing.

Clover Brown
(she/her)

Student Midwife

Clover is a student midwife from Berkeley, CA. She is in her third year at Midwives College of Utah and is thrilled to join Community Birth Works for the final leg of her midwifery education. Before midwifery school, Clover worked as a doula and reproductive health specialist at Planned Parenthood. Born at home herself, she believes strongly in both the normalcy of birth and its inherent alchemical potential for transformation and healing.

Sonia Lizama
(she/her)
Student Midwife

Sonia is a student midwife, birth and postpartum doula, and childbirth educator. She is of Salvadoran descent and is fluent in English and Spanish. Sonia is dual-enrolled in a distance program with a Traditional Midwife, Partera, from Latin America and at Midwives College of Utah. She is passionate about birth work and making it accessible to BIPOC communities to reduce health disparities and to improve birth and health outcomes.

Crystal Michelle Yescas
(she/her)
Doula, Circle Leader

Crystal has a passion for reclaiming birth as a rite of passage in the modern world, and this translates into the way she holds space for pregnant and postpartum people. She believes in the resilience, dignity, and power of all birthing people and looks forward to supporting you on your journey.

Farrell Topham, IBCLC
(she/her)
Lactation Consultant

Farrell is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant serving families since 2010. Farrell gives parents the practical guidance and non-judgmental care they need to achieve their feeding goals and thrive! She integrates traditional methods of lactation and feeding therapy, with advanced practice skills to create a holistic care plan that meets each family’s individual needs.

Nimisha Gandhi
(she/her)
Nutritionist

Nimisha is a certified holistic nutritionist specializing in reproductive health. Her work is an integration of ancient wisdom with modern medicine and is highly individualized to meet the needs of her clients. She holds extensive knowledge in holistic nutrition, clinical research, health coaching, sleep hygiene, Ayurveda, Yoga Nidra, and preventive health.

We celebrate diversity in ethnicity, race, age, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, relationship style, national origin, religion, ability, and socioeconomic background. You are welcome here.